A visiting Jesuit preached on love this weekend. He used one of my favourite Ignatian pieces of prose. Pedro Arrupe, sj is credited with writing Fall in Love:
Nothing is more practical than
finding God, than
falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything.
What and who you are in love with affects everything in you life. When you think about being in love, how often do you think of the person who has captured your heart? How much time in the day does your mind wander to that person, especially in the early romantic days of adventure? Do joy and anticipation make you leap out of bed in the morning? Now consider God the centre of your affection. How does this play out?
For me, God is my waking thought and often my last lucid reflection prior to drifting off to sleep. I am madly and deeply in love with Creation, often giving thanks to the Creator for the many gifts I have received during the day: a friend’s encouragement, an unexpected flash of purple, or a glimpse of beauty that stops me in my tracks. Much amazes me with great joy and gratitude…still.
I must admit that I rarely jump out of bed these days, as I struggle with some health issues regarding the cancer, but I still look forward to many parts of the day, offering my works, prayers, joys and sufferings humbly to God. That remains unchanged. So much of what I read these days is faith-related because it sustains me on the journey. The people who accompany me the closest are mostly, though not exclusively, people of a variety of faiths or spiritualities. I look for God everywhere and find the Holy disguised in ways I would not have thought.
The other day I was telling one of my favourite seniors at church about how crappy I felt, a drastic change from my usual upbeat self. We laughed, me saying that I hoped I had a better attitude tomorrow. He took my hand and kissed it, his sparkling eyes saying it all. God was there in that moment. Today a friend from Germany sent an affirming email which ended with this reminder: I am very certain that the medications and their side effects will not be stronger than your spirit and your faith. I have read those words a dozen times today, heartened by her love and knowledge of me. I breathe them in, letting them penetrate me. I know I am trying to believe them, but trust that my friend already knows that this statement is a fact. One of the readers of my blog who I have never met reached out to me with her beautiful story and once again has left me marveling at how God works in our lives, bringing people in and out of our world before we even know that we needed such a person in it. Last week I was feeling exhausted and could not pull my act together so drove to mass instead of walked. I parked my car, went to mass, facilitated a meeting of spiritual directors for the 19th Annotation, prayed in front of the Blessed Sacrament, and finally wandered back to my car….which would not start. A 45-minute wait for a boost did not rectify the situation; a tow truck was called. I headed back to the church to warm up and to ask about a garage nearby. People, as always, were accommodating. God keeps showing up and I may not notice right away but I do eventually. God is in all things. God’s signature is Love.
I cannot encourage you enough to fall in love with God and to stay in love. During trials it can be hard to recognize the reason you get out of bed, what breaks your heart and what brings gratitude. Stay in love anyway. God is there, right beside you, in odd and glorious ways. This I do know as Truth.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Why do you choose to stay in love with God?
Beloved, may my waking thoughts and dozing moments be filled with your Holy Love. May I know each morning why I am here–to praise, honour and serve you. Help me to stay in love with you until my dying breath and then let me come to you at last with joy and gratitude. Amen.
The joy and frequency of your recent posts tells of the strength of your spirit even when you must be physically tired and more. So I am thankful each time I check in on your blog and see a new photo announcing a new reflection. This past week has been studded with new gems. I particularly loved your description of your prayer time before the Blessed Sacrament, and your delightful habit of giving us ever-new names of God. Which led me to appreciating all over again the sacred Litanies we have as Catholics, whether formal, scriptural, or as the fruits of prayer. The take-home for me is how this ties in with the charism of praising/loving God, which you lay out beautifully in “Washed Robes” and again in today’s post.
The past week has been very special, from the vigil of All Saints, the actual Feast Day, and then the commemoration of All Souls. On Sunday, our church commemorated the beloved of our parish family who died in the past year. My own Mom’s name was read aloud at the main choir Mass we attended. Though the choir sang a few anthems re the faithfully departed, most of the hymns cited the Sunday readings’ theme of humility. So the piece chosen for the postlude caught me off guard. At first I couldn’t understand why our organist didn’t play one of the glorious pieces he frequently chooses as everyone processes out. Instead, the pianist started playing a familiar, haunting melody, but one I’d never heard in church before. I realized after a few moments it was by Puccini, Mom’s favorite composer. The only other time I recall hearing Puccini in church was as a prelude we had chosen for Mom’s funeral. I was stunned and shed some happy tears. This has brought me so much happiness and peace every time I think about it this week, I had to share!.
May you continue to know joy and beauty in all the ways your Beloved is with you, Suzanne!